It’s not all that its cracked up to be. Sure, there are countless hugs, smiles and ‘I love you’s’ but there is SO. Much. Doubt. Doubting of yourself, your decisions and your methods. Worrying about the ‘big picture’ the things that might be a direct response from your decision to feed your kids weetbix for tea because you are simply exhausted, haven’t had time to organize dinner and have not got any fight left in you after being battled all day by four inquisitive and sharp minds.
The constant chatter, both in your mind and all around you. The yearning for silence, and then when they are all asleep wanting to wake them up and talk to them or just hear them laugh. The arguments in your head – you talk yourself in and out of things in a matter of seconds. The way you quickly adjust to this gig and simply put yourself last, every time. Sharing everything, dividing whatever it is you are eating into five pieces, equal pieces. The ability to risk assess and manage almost any playground, park or play area in a matter of seconds. Knowing exactly what your child wants, often before they even ask for it.
It is akin to a superpower, this motherhood thing. We can’t get sick, and if we do, we have to keep on going because time, or child, wait for no bug/germ/illness. Head full of snot, eyes and throat itching and sore, we navigate the maze of daily routine, school, homework, feeding times, and, well, all of the above. Then after we were sick, and the two weeks it takes you to recover, you find things you put away or completed when you were sick. Cereal in the laundry, grocery lists that make no sense, reminder texts for appointments you have no recollection of making.
Don’t get me wrong, I would not change it. Even at its worst and most agonizing moments. I don’t think though anyone warned me well enough about what it really means to be a mother though. From the moment motherhood begins you are on call and on duty every hour of every day. There is no position description or work unit guidelines on how to safely manage kids or how to ‘be’ a mother.
I have no answers. I watch other mums at pick up and drop off or even out and about and often wonder how they can look so relaxed. They don’t look like I feel – a million things fighting for attention in my mind – I need to do x, y z, then the whole alphabet some days…..and then I need to work out what we will have for dinner, finish up my work stuff, and do all the little jobs that come with having four kids and a fridge that does not fill itself or refill itself for that matter.
I feel rushed almost every day, worry that I will forget something – yet a big grin or a ‘thanks mum’ can make the stress of worrying about it all away. I recently had a friend say ‘the years are short but the days are long’ and this rings so very true. Only feels like a second ago they were all crawling around at my feet. And communication was essentially one sided, their side being nothing more than babbles, gah’s and mama’s. I guess communication is still some times one sided, they just chose to ignore or answer. The days are long. They are so incredibly long some times – where the setting sun cannot come fast enough. The bed time lullabies and story skimmed and then the sigh of completion – they are in bed, and now I can do ‘something’ without them interrupting/annoying/destroying me. And yet, all I wanna do is go to sleep and try and prepare myself for the same hostile takeover tomorrow. And then I peek in on them and my heart melts. Four little sleeping angels, who have the look of the innocent, and in whose faces I can see a million things – tears, love, joy, surprise, wonder, amazement and then some more love. And I know that they will only ever look to me for answers of many things; and then I feel like the most amazing person to have ever walked this earth again, seemingly forgetting the pegging of peas at the dinner table or the singing of songs over and over that they ‘can’t stop as it is on a loop’ at the table. And so the see-sawing of emotions, thoughts and insight of motherhood goes.
I know one day I will miss all of this. I will yearn for the small hand to reach out and grab mine, or the tiny voice asking for a cup of tea, or something, anything, that makes me the most important person to them – maybe I will always be in the top three of the most important persons, but it will always be different. As the days pass, and the years fly by, my role changes. Frustratingly; as I have no idea what my role is most days, but even I can see it has changed, and will continue to change. So the memories formulate, the stories start, and the motherhood thing just continues to be an elusive title, that no one really knows what it means. Other than the fact that you love, with all that you are, share all that you have, and struggle daily to have four sets of ears actually listen to what you say. I think they only hear what they want to, comfortable in the fact that no matter what they hear, their mum will do what they need. Because, apart from all else I do, I am the holder of a superpower – motherhood.